How long will the Tory rule last?
Former Conservative leader William Hague suggests Boris Johnson is set for ‘decades of dominance in the North’
MPs will be sworn in today in the House of Commons following the Conservatives’ biggest election win since Margaret Thatcher’s landslide victory in 1987.
The previous three general elections resulted in two hung parliaments and a majority of just 12 for the Tories, but Boris Johnson now has a resounding 80-seat majority and what he describes as a “stonking mandate” to “Get Brexit Done”.
The Tories’ success in shattering Labour’s so-called “red wall” of Northern seats secures them power for the next five years - but how likely are they to secure another term in 2024?
In an article for The Telegraph, former Conservative leader William Hague claims the party can convert its majority into “decades of dominance in the North”.
It has taken 30 years for the most loyal of voters to turn against Labour, but the deepest bedrock of that support has now been “shattered”, Hague writes.
“Five years from now, Conservatives have to be able to show that they are achieving the revival of towns in the North, as in many other places that have felt neglected, that Labour failed to bring about. The political reward for doing this would clearly be very great,” he concludes.
The New Statesman’s George Eaton predicts that the Tories will use their majority to “reshape British democracy” in a bid to “entrench Conservative hegemony for a generation”.
He points to the party’s manifesto pledges to repeal the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, reform parliamentary boundaries, maintain the first-past-the-post voting system and the voting age of 18, and introduce photo ID checks at polling stations.
Eaton suggests that these moves will benefit the Conservatives in future elections.
The manifesto also promised to “look at the broader aspects of our Constitution: the relationship between the government, parliament and the courts; the functioning of the Royal Prerogative; the role of the House of Lords”.
Eaton says: “The implication is clear: after the Supreme Court ruled that Johnson’s suspension of Parliament was unlawful and the House of Lords inflicted multiple defeats on the government over Brexit, the Conservatives intend to take revenge.”
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So when might the opposition bounce back?
Darren Murphy, a former special adviser to Tony Blair, is doubtful as to whether Labour can turn its prospects around in just five years.
He told Sky News: “It won’t be the next general election, because the history of party performance is that no matter how well you do to reform the party, on this scale, with defeat so profound in some of our heartland areas, it will take two elections at the very least to get to a point where we could be in a place to win a national election again.”
The Daily Mirror notes that Labour lost elections in 1979, 1983, 1987 and 1992, but then enjoyed three successive victories under Tony Blair, two of which were landslides.
“How Labour reacts to this latest loss will determine how much longer it spends out of power,” says the newspaper.